Friday, 24 June 2016


I have just been away again. I know, I know, but with my
 GKB this time. We just arrived home this afternoon
 and I wanted to join Amy and friends for Five on Friday
 so here are a few photos of Arrowtown which is where 
we stopped for lunch on the way back yesterday. It is at a high altitude, up in the mountains, and so of course is very 
cold in winter with usually a lot of snow.
It is a pretty little town but very oriented to tourism
 and the mighty dollar, unfortunately

The main street and commercial centre
Arrowtown is built on the bank of
 the Arrow River and was a goldrush town.

Down a level to the carpark and back of buildings
There are a lot of new buildings going up on the outskirts but the main centre is mainly original with modern businesses in them.

Some of the original cottages
Unfortunately too, traffic is allowed to drive up
 the main street, it was built for bullock teams
 and carts, not today's modern vehicles.

winter foliage across the river
There was a large Chinese community here during 
the goldrush and there is the remains of their living 
quarters and accommodations along the river 
bank from where the lowest level of the carpark now is.

looking over the lower carpark to the Arrow River
We never went yesterday but have visited before and it is very primitive and basic. Caves, or bivouacs dug out from under tree roots.  Or very basic shelters built from whatever 
was available. It's hard to imagine living in this way.
Very hardy men. You have to admire their diligence 
and dedication to their families in China.

I'm also joining Deb for 


Wednesday, 15 June 2016

Two intrepid walkers - on a road trip #2

Hello there. Here we are back on the road again.
Make yourself a pot of tea, or coffee, put your feet up
and join Sis and me on the next part of our journey.

When I left you last we had had a break in Otira for lunch 
and now we are headed to the West Coast.
Once you cross over the mountain the landscape changes dramatically. The West Coast is a very narrow strip of land on the coast, bounded by mountains and the sea and we drive through ancient, beech forest to reach it. Rainforest. 

But today the sun is shining and as we drive north up the coast we are in our shirtsleeves. Definitely overdressed. Once we are over the Taramakau River bridge we are almost there. This is a road/rail bridge which throws some people, like my GKB when he first drove on it, but we grew up with it so no problems there. :)

We booked in at the camping ground and decided not to have a cuppa but to go and visit our aunty, who is still living in Greymouth, and have one with her. She was out. Oh well, we had other places to go in connection with our reunion next year. The hotel PR lady was next. She was away for the day! A restaurateur we wanted to speak to. He was finished for the day! We weren't having much luck. I  guess that is what happens when you do things on the spur of the moment. Let's try aunty again on the way back to the camping ground. Aah, finally, she was home and we had a nice visit - and finally too, a hot cup of tea.

We bought fish and chips for tea and ate them back at the camping ground and then decided to go for a walk on the beach. These are not sandy beaches and neither are they beaches I would swim in, the Tasman Sea is too rough and rugged for me. But they are enjoyable to walk on. Not that we went far as the wind was coming up, making it a bit cool and unpleasant. It's winter, remember.

The camping ground is at the beach, leave the grounds heading west, cross a narrow track/road and you're in the flax and grass that borders the beach. As we were heading back we saw a large bird run across the grass in front of us - then another one. A pair of wekas. Weka - also known as wood hen or Maori hen. They had no fear and posed for us before calling to each other and disappearing into the scrub again. But as luck would have it none of my photos turned out so this is a photo of a postcard with a Weka on it. The photo is taken by Dave Foster. We also saw these on the roadsides as we were travelling on the West Coast side.

Weka, by Dave Foster
With the wind getting up and darkness falling we decided to have showers and call it a night. It was 7:30pm! We read and chatted and planned a programme for the reunion, but mostly we read. I couldn't believe how tired I felt. Sometime in the early hours of the morning I woke up, then there was an almighty thunderclap. Sis reckons it was the lightening that woke me. With the thunder came the rain, and did it rain. The West Coast of the South Island gets torrential rain and I hadn't experienced it for a long time
 - welcome home :)

It was still raining when we left in the morning about 10:00am. We caught up with the people who had been away the day before and decided to have a cooked breakfast before we headed off. Above is the view out of the tearooms window as we ate.

And this is what it was like as we were leaving Kumara and heading back towards the mountains, with no let up as we headed into Otira where there was a beautiful rainbow. We drove right into it and I decided to enjoy the moment instead of trying to capture it.
Can you see though, how it is coming down between the mountains and therefore having nowhere to disappear to.

It was a long haul up the mountain behind two large trucks, I think our top speed was about 15 kpm and we kept waiting for the engine to cut out. Eventually we came to a short passing  bay but it was long enough for us and we made a run for it. Through the passes on the Canterbury side the sun was out and it was a pleasant trip through to Christchurch. Another overnight stay and then we headed back to Otago and the meeting I had to be home for that evening.

I hope you've enjoyed our road trip.
I'm joining Amy, and others, for
so why don't you pop over for a look as well.
By the way, don't ask me what mountain I crossed, I don't know to be honest, just that it is part of the Southern Alps . Growing up if we were going to Christchurch we were going  'over the hill'. We drove up the mountain, or took the railcar, and went through the passes but it has never occurred to me to find out which mountain we crossed. We knew the name of the passes, that sufficed. Maybe I should find out!

Friday, 10 June 2016

Two intrepid walkers -some hometown snaps

Some snaps taken around my hometown a few years ago,
 just five as I want to join Amy for Five on Friday.

Tainui Street, part of the shopping centre.

A greenstone fountain (New Zealand jade), 
also known in Maori as pounamu.
The South Island is also known 
as Te Wai Pounamu, or Greenstone Waters.

The Grey River taken from
 the flood wall along Mawhera Quay.

The railway station and i centre
 on the left and a hotel on the right.

Another hotel, both hotels are heritage buildings.

Be kind to one another,

Saturday, 4 June 2016

Two intrepid walkers - on a road trip

I hope you will take a few minutes, maybe five, 
make yourself a coffee or tea and join me 
as I take a road trip to my childhood home.

Well it's been over for a week or two now but when my little sis was here on holiday from Australia we went on a bit of a road trip. All in the name of the reunion we are having at Easter next year. 
We had intended heading back up Central and knocking off a bit more of the rail trail but got chatting and decided on a completely different plan. Dunedin to Greymouth and back in four days, because I had a meeting to get back for. That's a round trip of over 1130 k's and meant we were on the road most of the time without a full day anywhere.

After making sure my GKB was okay with baching for a few days we got on the road. He didn't fancy a menage a trois of any kind anyway and quite honestly even though the campervan was supposed to sleep four it would have been pretty crowded. Comfortable enough for two though.

After a couple of hours on the road, we decided to stop for lunch at one of the rivers we crossed on the way. There was a fair wind blowing but we got out and stretched our legs, took a photo or two and some of some tourists as well, with their camera. (We are so nice like that, ha ha). The name of the river eludes me now but it is the same braided river I showed you in an earlier post with the ducks swimming on it. The photo above is a tiny sheltered braid close to the bank. Very pretty but the river itself is rugged. If you look hard you can see the Southern Alps in the background on the left. And then we headed for Christchurch to stop for the night.

There are a lot of road works and rebuilding going on and at one point we went round this roundabout into a little detour and came back out where we had gone in. Don't ask! I think that was as we were trying to get onto the Coast Road as we left the next morning. Anyway we went through here several times over two days. We had just enough time to get parked up at the camping ground/holiday park when we arrived when my grandson rang to say his partner had just finished work and was on his way over to pick us up for dinner. Time for a quick wash and tidy up and away we went for a lovely roast dinner.

The next morning, after an early start and finally negotiating the road works we turned inland and onto the West Coast Road. That is the Southern Alps we are heading for and which we had to cross. Heading home, well to my childhood home which I love.

Above is Castle Hill, no castle just these rather wonderful rock formations which from a distance do look like a ruined castle, we pass this on the way. And then a bit further on we come to the Bealey River, we're up in the mountains now and although there is no snow where we are, it's on the tops and cold.

Over the bridge and before we knew it we were in the Otira Gorge and driving over the viaduct. So different to when I was young, when you had to drive a lot higher up the mountain on an unsealed road with no barriers to stop you going over the edge. 

The photo above is taken through the van window, a waterfall above the road with the sluice to carry it across the road above the traffic. We stopped for lunch in Otira village, next to the railway station at some picnic tables and then carried on to the coast. We were on the downhill run now. We can hear the call of home :)

And I think that is where I will leave you today. I'll pick up here again in about a week and tell a little more. 

Joining Amy for